On the exterior of Pier 94, the artist and 2018 Academy Award nominee, JR, will debut a monumental work, transforming archival Ellis Island photographs into a large-scale installation.
Unframed, An immigrant family views the Statue of Liberty from the Ellis Island Immigration Station dock revu par JR, courtesy of National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, U.S.A, 2014
Presented in partnership with Artsy and Jeffrey Deitch, SO CLOSE (2018) is the marquee feature of the fair’s Platform section, curated by Jen Mergel, who has selected fifteen site-responsive works sited around Pier 92 & 94 under the theme, The Contingent.
SO CLOSE is a continuation of Artsy’s six-year relationship with the fair and extends Artsy’s tradition
of presenting site-specific artist projects at The Armory Show.
Upon entry to the fair, visitors will be faced with the super-sized tableau of a line of immigrants, waiting.
The faces in the archival image from Ellis Island are updated with Syrians’ portraits JR took at the Zaatari refugee camp in 2017. Like his recent image of the smiling toddler Kikito strategically installed on scaffolding in Tecate, peering over U.S.-Mexican border wall from the California side, the supersized silhouettes of SO CLOSE are sited at a symbolic point of entry—to the city, to the country, and to the art world.
The new installation expands on JR’s provocative and often politically-charged public interventions that
paste large-scale black-and-white photographs of individuals across cities’ architecture, re-weaving a
human presence into the urban fabric. Building upon his UNFRAMED series of borrowed photographs, SO CLOSE collapses history and geography, responding directly to the global immigration crises. SO CLOSE will be the first work seen by visitors as part of The Contingent, which responds to the unfolding zeitgeist that Mergel defines as the “rise of collective action in the face of a prevalence of uncertainty.”
VIP Preview Day (By invitation only) Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Public Days Thursday, March 8 – Sunday, March 11, 2018
About The Artist
JR (1983, Paris, France) exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. In 2006, he created Portrait of a Generation, portraits of suburban “thugs” that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. In 2007, in collaboration with Marco, he made Face 2 Face, posting huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities. His recent projects include a collaboration with New York City Ballet, an Academy Award nominated feature documentary co-directed with French New Wave legend Agnès Varda; a huge
installation on the Pantheon in Paris, the pasting of a container ship; the pyramid of the Louvre; a
monumental mural in the suburbs of Paris; scaffolding installations at the 2016 Rio Olympics; an
exhibition on the abandoned hospital of Ellis Island; and an installation at the US-Mexico border fence.